Ubuntu – Epson Scanner sx218 – Works Intermittently


My Epson SX218 does not seem to be reliably recognised.

I have installed the correct drivers from the Epson website.
I have edited the /etc/sane.d/dll.conf file to contain the uncommented line – epkowa .
I have edited /lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules in accordance with the instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SettingScannerPermissions .
I have ensured that the 2 users on the system are members of the scanner and saned groups.

When I click on the iscan icon on the launcher, the icon fades and brightens unless I double click and then I get a dialogue box up that says Epson (unknown model)[epkowa:usb:003:006]. I then get a dialogue that says could not send command to scanner – check scanner status.

SOMETIMES though the dialogue recognises the scanner as Epson Stylus NX220/SX218/TX220/ME – when I click "OK" then iscan starts up and the scanner works perfectly.


does not find the scanner either as a user or as sudo.

What is going wrong?

Best Answer

  • I have managed to solve this problem. Full description follows -

    I have read that Epson provides very good driver support for Linux and from my limited experience this would seem to be the case. The Epson web site can lead to a bit of confusion in this respect. When initially searching for information about your Epson scanner/printer/all-in-one the Epson site suggests searching for the device using a format such as SX-218 (i.e. with a hyphen). This works and takes you to a device information page. On those pages there is a Drivers and Downloads section that has a drop-down list for the OS. If you are running Windows the page will list driver links beneath the drop-down. If you select Linux, the only thing that is displayed is a tiny link that says "driver". If you click that link, you are taken to a search page for Linux drivers. It appears initially that nothing is there. When you search for your printer, you need to remove the hyphen from the search string. So SX218 will get a result. SX-218 will not. Very confusing at first.

    When you get to the driver information, there are download links for the driver software. At the bottom of the page there is a tiny link to FAQs. Click on this somewhat easily overlooked link and read the FAQs. The information is very useful.

    Step by Step Instructions

    1. Download the software. You will need iscan-data_1.24.0-2_all.deb (or later version) and iscan_2.29.2-1~usb0.1.ltdl7_amd64.deb or similar. the "ltdl7" packages are for current versions of Linux - the "ltdl3" are for earlier versions. The printer drivers are similarly obtained - you will want epson-inkjet-printer-workforce-320-sx218_1.0.0-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb or the i386 equivalent.
    2. Check that the Synaptic Package manager is installed.
    3. Check that sane-utils is installed on your system.
    4. Check that the GDebi package installer is installed. Use Synaptic to install if not already there.
    5. Check/Install package xsltproc using Synaptic. This step is crucial for installation of the iscan-data package.
    6. Use GDebi to install iscan-data_1.24.0-2_all.deb
    7. Use GDebi to install iscan_2.29.2-1~usb0.1.ltdl7_amd64.deb
    8. Check /etc/sane.d/dll.conf It should contain a line that reads - epkowa If it has a line that reads - epson2 then comment this out with a hash (#)
    9. Check the /etc/sane.d/epkowa.conf file. It should have a line that reads - usb 0x04b8 0x0865 - Note 0x04b8 is the vendor ID for Epson - 0x0865 is the product ID for the SX-218
    10. Comment out the scsi entry in the /etc/sane.d/epkowa.conf file
    11. Check the entries in /lib/udev/rules.d/40-libsane.rules - there should be an entry for the vendor and product numbers in this file (there was already one there when I did the install).
    12. Using the "Users and Groups" package (not always installed by default), add users to the "scanner" group.
    13. Install the printer driver - epson-inkjet-printer-workforce-320-sx218_1.0.0-1lsb3.2_amd64.deb or equivalent

    Notes When plugging in the printer/scanner use a USB2 port NOT USB3. USB3 seems to work for the printer but will not work reliably for the scanner. When plugging the device into a USB2 port it was instantly recognised by the system

    You can use the lsusb command in the terminal window to get the vendor and product ID for your device.

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